The Cinematic Side of NYC

Each of these fun half-day itineraries captures the spirit and subculture of a favorite movie set in the Big Apple: "The Devil Wears Prada," "You've Got Mail," "West Side Story," "The Godfather," and "Working Girl."

The Costume Institute's latest exhibition includes 1970s garments by Yves Saint Laurent and Halston; get inspired to see high fashion by watching The Devil Wears Prada
The Costume Institute's latest exhibition includes 1970s garments by Yves Saint Laurent and Halston; get inspired to see high fashion by watching The Devil Wears Prada (Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

On-screen: Fashion turns ugly in this 2006 adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's best-selling novel about Runway, a fashion magazine loosely based on New York's own Vogue. The deliciously evil editor in chief, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), forces her new assistant, Andy (Anne Hathaway), to jump through a series of ever-higher hoops—no easy feat in the job's requisite four-inch heels.

Starring you: The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the perfect starting point for couture inspiration. And now you can ogle more apparel than ever: The Brooklyn Museum recently gave the Met its entire 23,500-item costume collection, representing some of the highlights of late-19th and mid-20th century American fashion.

Once you've had your fill, catch the 6 train down to 59th Street and walk two blocks over to Madison Avenue. Hang out with modern-day fashionistas trolling Prada, Chanel, and Hermès boutiques, then fuel up for an afternoon of power window-shopping with a latte at Starbucks on 57th Street—and be thankful you're not fetching it for anyone. Holster your credit card and hold out for nearby sample sales, where designers unload late-season styles and runway samples at a fraction of the cost. New York magazine's listings can tip you off to finds like a recent Betsey Johnson sale with dresses from $50.

End the day in the more fashion-forward West Village at Magnolia Bakery, where Andy gets her boyfriend a chocolate buttermilk cupcake topped with sugary vanilla frosting ($2.50). The chocolate buttermilk's good, but with lines this long the creamy banana pudding topped with classic vanilla wafers is better worth your wait ($4.50).

Something extra: From The Princess Diaries to Prada, Anne Hathaway is queen of the makeover transformation. To see how far a little grooming can go for your own look, mention Budget Travel at Aura Wellness Spa through August 31 for $35 off a 90-minute detoxifying facial to prevent blemishes and signs of aging ($115, usually $150). Plus, when BT readers book this facial promotion, they'll receive a $25 gift certificate for other Aura treatments valid through the end of the year. Alison Rohrs

On-screen: In this romantic comedy, chain-bookstore developer Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) and independent-bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) compete for the loyalties of Upper West Side readers—while unwittingly falling in love as they trade online messages under the screen names NYC152 and Shopgirl. In early e-mails, the two bond over a shared love for New York as the camera lovingly zooms in on the leafy blocks of the West 70s and 80s.

Starring you: Set out from the American Museum of Natural History and stroll west along 80th Street to admire rows of stately, one-of-a-kind brownstones like Kelly's, with eye-catching moldings, bay windows, faux balconies, and flower urns.

At Broadway, make a beeline for beloved gourmet food shop Zabar's, an Upper West Side institution where Fox and Kelly bump into each other. Browse through aisles lavishly stocked with marinated olives, potent cheeses, and hand-sliced fish. Pick up a box of apricot-and-raspberry rugelach and then cross the street to Westsider Books & Records, one of a dwindling number of independent bookstores in the city. Gingerly climb the old-fashioned rolling ladders to nab a book from ceiling-high shelves.

You're set with a snack and some brain food, so enter Riverside Park at 83rd Street to claim a bench overlooking the Hudson. It's here that Fox walks his dog, vying for space with joggers, cyclists, and hyperactive kids. If you head north along the Serpentine Promenade, you'll reach the tiny garden where he and Kelly kiss as the credits roll.

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